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McCaskill: Twitter Means "Keeping It Real"

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 24 2009

cmcpodium.JPG (JPEG Image, 574x864 pixels) - Scaled (71%)Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill revealed some interesting insights into why she uses Twitter, in that speech linked to below. Twitter, said McCaskill, is a way to actively and regularly resist the enormous Washington pressure to conform, dampen down the desire to avoid stands, and force herself to take an accounting of her own mind several times a day. Think of Twitter as a training regimen for a grounded, human politician:

I remember watching the Sunday morning talk shows when I was a civilian -- well, not really a civilian, but a state or local elected official. I remember watching people from Washington talk on those shows, and they'd go two paragraphs and they'd never said anything.

I realized that what happens to people in this work -- because you get shot at in the process of getting here, you begin building up this barrier of "Okay, I've got to be careful about what I say. Because if I really say something I'm going to make somebody mad." And you don't want to make anybody mad, right? You want everybody to love you, because that's how you get here and that's how you stay here.

It came to me that this tweeting is a way that I can be disciplined about keeping it real. Three for four times a day, I think to myself, "Okay, what am I doing that would be interesting to the people I'm working for? What policy issue am I grappling with today?" And say something about it that is more meaningful than "There is two sides to the equation." ...

That's really why I do it. I think it keeps me in the discipline of not being afraid to say things that may not be perfect, that may actually offend, that may actually truly reflect what I'm thinking and why.

And you thought she was just sharing creamed spinach recipes.